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Typology: Housing Estate

"Being morally improved and surveilled for signs of dipsomania is better than dying in a tubercular slum"

From the green quadrangles of medieval almshouses to towering banlieues, the history of mass housing represents architecture at its most high-minded – which makes its failures all the more painful.

The housing estate, whether it is built by a charity, developer, government or cooperative, is essentially a collection of dwellings disposed in space. The design of this negative space is as significant as that of the individual unit – a precept that has not always been sufficiently acknowledged. From the medieval almshouse to the blocks of Pruitt-Igoe, estate-space has changed in function and texture, coagulating and thinning with and against the space of the city and the wider territory.

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